Ghost of Tsushima is the PlayStation 4’s final exclusive and it provided us with one of Sony’s greatest protagonists, Jin Sakai
Ghost of Tsushima is an action-adventure, role-playing game set during the first invasion of the Mongols in Japan in 1274. The game differs from the actual Mongol invasion by giving us the fictional protagonist, Jin Sakai. Through this article, we will be dissecting the character of Jin Sakai.
The game has an intricately paced story that puts nuance to our hero, Jin. The character is broken down to his limits and built back from the ground up. Jin’s story took a few turns till he turned into the final sign of hope his land needed.
Jin Sakai: The Samurai
Jin lost his father, Master Sakai, at a young age due to his inability to fight. This put a chip on his shoulder for the rest of his life. Jin vowed to become a master samurai and eventually be a warrior his father could be proud of.
He was later adopted by his uncle, Lord Shimura, who taught him the way of the samurai. He was quick to instill the virtues within Jin that the samurai followed. The most important among which was the samurai’s honor. How samurai help those in need without asking questions and, most importantly, face their enemies head first. They do not attack from the shadows as that has no honor.
Jin and Lord Shimura led a samurai army of 80 men during the first Mongol invasion of Tsushima. Unfortunately, all the samurai except Jin and Shimura were killed. Shimura was captured, while Jin was left to die with heavy injuries.
Jin Sakai: The Reluctant Killer
Jin was nursed back to health soon after by a thief named Yuna. She saves his life with the expectation of a favor to be returned. Jin, due to his samurai’s code agrees on the condition that he’ll save his uncle first.
They make their way to castle Kaneda, where Lord Shimura is held. The castle, however, was flooded with Mongol soldiers and a frontal assault would be suicide.
Yuna suggests assassinating the unsuspecting soldiers from the shadows.
Jin’s honor however went against it and after one kill from the back, Jin is left tormented by his thoughts. He after contemplating his code, therefore launched a one-man attack on the castle.
To no one's surprise, he was beaten.
Shortly after, Yuna gave Jin a stern talk about how his code is useless if he does not end up saving people. Jin reluctantly agrees. He tells himself he’ll use this tactic only to save his uncle and then give it up. For then, he’ll have an army to face his enemies directly.
Jin soon starts becoming more proficient in the art of assassination and strays away from his samurai’s code. He however stays true to himself, a man who wants the betterment of Tsushima. He still helps the peasants in need and does whatever he can to take down Mongol camps.
Jin Sakai: The Ghost
As Jin goes through Tsushima, saving villages from horrors, rumors spread about a Ghost saving the people of Tsushima. Jin finds his nickname dishonorable. Finally, after saving Yuna’s brother from a village taken over by the Mongols, Yuna confirms to the people of the town that Jin is indeed the Ghost, a protector of Tsushima. Jin did not like the rumors about him, but at the same time, he did not pay heed to them. He still went on his way, doing what he thought was right.
Jin eventually saved his uncle from Fort Kaneda, but he was not proud of Jin’s achievements. He firmly disapproved of the Ghost persona. Jin agreed to give up the mantle after saving Tsushima. He donned his late father’s armor and went forward to adopt the help of Yarikawa. It is here that Jin solidifies himself as the Ghost.
During the fight for Yarikawa’s freedom from the Mongols, Jin snuck behind the enemy general who was torturing a farmer. He beheaded him with one slash of his sword and struck fear into all the on-looking soldiers. The people of Yarikawa rebelled against the Mongolians and drove them out.
The Ghost soon met up with his uncle, who had brought samurai from the Shogun to take down the invaders. The two led their armies once again. This time, they pushed back the military units and forced them to retreat into the castle. While the enemies regrouped and prepared, Lord Shimura revealed to Jin that he had applied to adopt Jin as his son, making him the heir to his legacy.
The two soon went over to survey what to do for the upcoming battle. Shimura, unbeknownst to Jin had set up a blockade of low-rank soldiers on the bridge leading to the castle. The Mogolians blew up said bridge in an unexpected attack, causing the death of all those soldiers. Jin was enraged and suggested he infiltrate the enemy base unseen and poison the military’s food. Shimura was strongly against it and suggested repairing the bridge and attacking from the front.
The two philosophies argued. One is about protecting honor, while the other is about the lesser evil. The argument ended when Shimura slapped his nephew when he pointed out his hypocrisy.
Jin, aided by Yuna, went on his own accord to take down the Mongols as the Ghost. In a horrific scene, Jin poisoned every soldier settled in the camp. He stood among countless soldiers, vomiting blood on the ground. His uncle walked up to him, holding back anger and tears.
He asked Jin to blame all his deeds on Yuna and become a samurai once more. If he did not, Jin would be arrested for breaking the samurai’s code and he would no longer be Shimura’s son.
Jin stood his ground and announced: “I am not your son. I am the Ghost.”.
The Ghost of Tsushima
After going against his uncle, Jin Sakai led his army of allies he picked up along the way. People who believed in the way of the Ghost. He eventually drives the Mongolians from the land completely and frees Tsushima as its protector.
Ghost of Tsushima shows the transformation of character. A character who believed the world was black and white as that is what he was told. He, through his journey, finds out the world is grey and to achieve what is right, he has to adopt the lesser evil. The Ghost is the accumulation of Jin Sakai embracing both his sides. The just, kind-hearted samurai and the cold, collective killer. Both journeys are what make him the unlikely hope of Tsushima.
It is through overcoming the faults in the samurai’s way and embracing his coldness that Jin finds himself. He became the protector of his land, The Ghost of Tsushima.